Can Kentucky win without Noel?

Updated: February 14, 2013, 10:55 AM ET
By Seth Greenberg

The news that Nerlens Noel is lost for the season to an ACL tear has many wondering what the injury will mean for the Kentucky Wildcats' NCAA tournament chances (including whether they will earn a bid at all).

There's no question that it is a huge loss. Noel not only was Kentucky's leader in minutes per game and an all-around force who averaged 10.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and 4.4 blocks per game, but he had the raw talent to make him the presumptive No. 1 pick in the 2013 NBA draft. However, I think that the Wildcats (17-7, 8-3 SEC) still have a very good chance of making the tourney field. What I'm most interested to see now is how they respond. That will tell us a lot about whether this team has a shot to advance past their opening-round game, if they do end up making it.